From Shiitake mushrooms to Reishi – Dr Naomi Newman-Beinart advocates a daily dose of shrooms and explains 5 reasons why medicinal mushrooms can boost your health
Medicinal mushrooms have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for centuries over the past two millennia with the aim of achieving greater well-being and longevity.
This is reflected in the earliest medical texts, which, for example, detail the uses of one of the most famous mushrooms: Reishi was known as ‘the mushroom of eternal youth’.
studies have proven that mushrooms can have great benefits
Mushrooms may not seem the obvious choice for keeping your immunity strong, skin glowing, and blood sugar balanced. Still, numerous clinical studies have proven that mushrooms can have great benefits when it comes to keeping our health in tip-top condition.
Everything from supporting immune health to keeping your blood sugar balanced, you can be supercharged with these fabulously good fungi.
Here are five of the best reasons for saying yes to shrooms…
#1 They keep your immunity strong and support natural defences
Mushrooms are high in beta-glucans – natural substances that have been found to help ‘prime’ our immune system, making sure it’s ready for action to fight off bugs and germs.
Certain types of mushrooms, such as reishi, shiitake mushrooms and maitake, are especially rich in the most powerful beta glucans. So, getting a daily dose of these mushrooms could be beneficial at times when we need extra support, such as during the cold and flu season.
A recent study found that maitake mushrooms have a protective effect against the flu virus and reduced cold symptoms, so it’s worth adding a dose of maitake to your health regime.
READ MORE: Medicinal mushrooms – the hot new superfood everyone’s talking about
#2 They boost mood and energy and reduce stress hormones
Certain mushrooms are traditionally used in many parts of Asia on a daily basis as a mood tonic or ‘adaptogen’. Adaptogens are natural substances that help the body adapt to stress and protect against some negative effects, such as fatigue and poor sleep.
The bonus: more energy! Maitake and reishi are among the mushrooms said to have adaptogenic qualities and help our hormonal well-being.
#3 Keep blood sugar balanced
When blood sugar levels get out of whack, this can affect everyday energy as well as increase the risk of other problems such as type 2 diabetes and weight gain.
The Maitake mushroom has been found in studies to help bring blood sugar down by improving sensitivity to insulin, the hormone that triggers cells to take glucose out of the blood.
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#4 Keep joints pain free
Missing out on your morning run due to aching joints can set you back, but inflammation around the joints can be a major concern for many people, especially those with arthritis or joint damage.
Mushrooms are said to be anti-inflammatory, so they could help to ease pain and discomfort.
Reishi and shiitake mushrooms in particular could be helpful – a randomised, placebo-controlled double-blind study, the best type of study we could ask for, found that reishi mushrooms helped to ease pain in people with rheumatoid arthritis over a period of 24 weeks.
#5 Improve your skins radiance
Lastly, and certainly not least, studies have found mushrooms such as shiitake and reishi are rich in youth-boosting antioxidants. These include polyphenols, like those found in fruits and vegetables.
But mushrooms actually go one better than most vegetables – in fact, two better. Firstly, their powerful beta glucans – which we saw can be helpful for immunity – can also have an antioxidant effect.
they may contribute to anti-ageing and have a protective activity for our skin
And scientific reviews have found that mushrooms are also a great source of the minerals copper and zinc, which are used by our body to make their own powerful antioxidants.
All this supports the idea that they may contribute to anti-ageing and have a protective activity for our skin. They can be particularly helpful during the menopausal years when the skin starts to change in texture and appearance, and hyperpigmentation can increase.
How to get yourself some shroom power?
You may have seen shiitake mushrooms in your local supermarket, but maitake and reishi are not as readily available in food form.
For a convenient and effective way to get all the benefits of these three powerful mushrooms, try a good-quality organic nutritional supplement combining all three.
Try: Hifas da Terra organic range of powders and capsules. Suitable for vegans and certified organic.
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